Double-minded

Philippians 4:8-9 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

James 4:8 “. . . purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

What does it mean to be “double-minded?” The Bible has nothing good to say about it, but it was clearly a problem among the people of God in both the Old and New Testaments. Israel constantly fell into this condition. After God had miraculously delivered them from Egypt with one miracle after another, not the least of which was the dividing of the Red Sea, they began to worship a golden calf. Then as Joshua prepared to take them into the promised land to settle in cities occupied by those who served other gods, he proclaimed “choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell (Joshua 24:15).”

Sadly, Israel didn’t heed Joshua’s words, and we find that even Solomon, the wisest king, served many other gods in addition to the true God, Jehovah. Later, Elijah spoke these words: “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him (I Kings 18:21).” In essence Jesus said the same thing when he said that “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money (Matthew 6:24).”

Today in America, most of us aren’t inclined to bow to a golden calf, but we may be inclined toward the temptation to serve God and just plain gold. If we want the God of peace to be with us, we must serve Him and only Him, Who is the one described above by Paul in Philippians 4. If, on the other hand, we are double-minded, with one foot in the church and one in the world; or wanting to serve God, except for this or that secret sin; or we are tempted to think that there are multiple ways to God (which is a common belief of many people), we are on a very unstable path, for a “double-minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8).

May we affirm with Joshua “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15), for only in this will the true God, the God of peace, be with us.

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